5 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently in College

I have been at my first full-time, legit, salaried job outside of college for a few weeks now, and I absolutely love it! The small time away from school has already shown me what I regret a little about my college career. If you’re a recent grad like me, maybe some things on this list will resonate with you. And if you’re still slogging through college, take a peek through this list. Maybe my regrets don’t have to be yours.

Read More

It’s hard to make time for what you love, but seriously, instead of vegging out on Facebook for 15 minutes as a “break,” why didn’t I read for fun? I read now during my lunch breaks, and it’s amazing how refreshed I feel after just 25 minutes. Not to mention, during my last semester in school, I discovered that I could read while power walking on the treadmill. It made exercising much more fun. I wish I’d made more time for that in school rather than allotting little pockets of time for social media.

Taken a Finance Course

Enrolling for benefits can be complicated, and my new colleagues and I were discussing how frustrating it was to determine what the best options would be. So many HR people do their best to make it easy, but the fact of the matter is, I know people who are in their late 20s and still don’t know the difference between a 401(k) and a Roth IRA account. I think making time for a money-management elective would have prepared me more for being out of school.

Researched Salaries

In college, I spent a lot of time chasing internship postings and prepping résumés—and that was a good thing. However, when I got to the final round of job interviews, I had no idea how to negotiate a salary. I was fortunate enough to have a good friend in the school’s career center to go to for help, but it made me realize how little I had considered the topic before. While it’s important to try to get your foot in the door, make sure you have a salary in mind when you’re going in for those later interviews.

Built Up a Professional Wardrobe

I always thought I dressed pretty well for a college student—my appearance was usually devoid of sweatpants at least. But it took until I was in an office for a week to realize that I didn’t have that many outfits that made the visual transition from a college student to an office worker. Had I focused some of my extra spending money on building a nice wardrobe instead of restaurants and movies, it would have cut down my shopping trip a week after I started.

Spent Less on Coffee

Speaking of spending money…When I glanced over my receipts from last fall, the bulk of them came from coffee dates. (And when you’re making minimum wage, that money disappears quickly!) So maybe instead of meeting a friend at a coffee shop, consider staying in. Inviting friends over to your dorm room and making them coffee or tea is a much more intimate (and less expensive) way to hang out.

For you recent grads, what do you wish you’d done differently in school?

6 thoughts on “5 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently in College

  1. (I am a college freshman, I would like to say THANK YOU!) One thing I have realized a lot is I DO NOT have a very professional wardrobe. Some undergrads or grads feel they don’t need it because they will be in jeans, scrubs, or a uniform but what about the INTERVIEWS!
    Another thing I am a stickler for saving money but I never thought buying a skirt here, a shirt there, or an outfit around tax time. (Ask Santa) Now we may be a little old but we always get giftcards why not ask for a giftcard to a dressier store. I always want to go on a shopping spree and pick out a whole outfit but realistically we can’t do that!
    I have spent so much time researching, some people don’t realize their salary may differentiate in other states as well! RESEARCH is SO important.
    One thing I do for fun is TRY to read but honestly I am so busy. Don’t beat yourself up about not reading because in all honestly between classes, work, and studying there is almost not enough time. I try to read during school breaks but even that can become hectic. Summer is also a plus with readying though. At least you can take advantage and read now. Goodreads.com has helped me a lot, you can set goals of how many books you’d like to read that year and even read along with people in a book clubs.

    • Thanks so much for the review! I really appreciate it. 🙂 GoodReads.com is a great idea! I personally have never used it, but I’ve heard great things. Hang in there! College is a lot of what you put into it.

  2. Another wonderfully insightful post. I really like the idea of reading more as a break between homework. I definitely veg out on Facebook way too much. If I spent more of that time doing things I really like such as reading or journaling I would probably be less stressed. Great tips for job hunting too and saving money on coffee, I know a lot of my money definitely goes to coffee shops when I could save it for more important things.

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